If another driver is responsible for your car accident, you'll probably be able to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've held it's place in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was responsible, you will end up buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing a personal injury lawsuit, each time a case helps it be to court). But just how much do you want to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—instead of the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other types of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees until you recover money in to your case. The lawyer or law firm can get paid a share of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all how you can trial).
In this informative article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you choose to hire a lawyer to take care of your car accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage a personal injury lawyer can receive in a contingency fee agreement varies, but typically ranges from 25 to 40 percent, and 33 percent (or one-third) is pretty standard. So, when you have a 33% contingency fee arrangement and you recover $90,000 in your car accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary according to whether a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage may be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a proper answer to your complaint—or if the case proceeds to trial and a jury verdict is reached, the attorney's share may increase to 40 percent.
For example, suppose your lawyer sent a demand letter to another driver's insurance company in your case, and you quickly reached a settlement for $90,000. In this case, the attorney would again receive $30,000 (33%). However, suppose that the case instead ended in a jury verdict of $90,000 and your agreement (and/or what the law states in your state) allows the attorney for 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always crucial that you speak together with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, the same as everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the automobile accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. That you don't need to give up a third of your compensation simply because you need the leverage of getting a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or might not lead to upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, just like the cost of obtaining medical records and police reports, court reporter fees, and expert witness fees.
Many personal injury firms require the client to pay the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you're in charge of these costs, you are able to expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment whilst the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will probably not proceed until there's a payment.
Other personal injury firms (typically large firms), will cover all fees and expenses. However, the fees and expenses will soon be deducted from your own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car accident case for $100,000. This time, your contract stated that costs and expenses could be deducted from the settlement. Your attorney incurred $10,000 in costs and expenses. In this case, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would find yourself receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that's, the quantity left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to improve their pay by taking their money out first. Let them understand that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the conclusion of the case. As an example, in the event that you paid $2,000 to the attorney as a retainer and recover $90,000 in a settlement, the attorney will receive $28,000 from the settlement ($30,000-$2,000 = $28,000).
Most car accident cases will not involve a set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are normally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. In that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the greater the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a small fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement with no lawyer. On another hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to accept a very low settlement offer—they're available of earning money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer on your own side becomes essential.